Good Life

STEM camp helps high school students think like entrepreneurs

Penn State Small Business Development Center’s SMART Girls camp was held last week in Williamsport.
Penn State Small Business Development Center’s SMART Girls camp was held last week in Williamsport. Photo provided

Though the numbers are increasing, women are still underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. According to the White House, women in STEM fields earn 33 percent more than their non-STEM peers. But they comprise only about a quarter of computer and mathematical jobs and about 14 percent of architecture and engineering occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last week, the Penn State Small Business Development Center presented at a STEM camp to help spur the next generation. Hosting 40 high school students, the Science and Math Applications in Real-world Technologies girls camp provided opportunities to tackle entrepreneurial challenges, map out finances and experiment with some of the latest technology. The participants worked with 3-D printers, laser and vinyl cutters and digital fabrication. The Penn State SBDC’s Jennifer Riden helped the students develop a business plan.

The camp, which ran Monday-Friday, was held at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

Alice Justice, a counselor for Central Columbia School District who organized the camp, noted the benefits of STEM careers and the importance of continuing to develop education surrounding them.

“I really believe this camp allows girls to explore how their passions can manifest themselves in the world of STEM,” Justice said in a release.

Passing the baton

A few chapters of any career often compose a bildungsroman: The prodigal student leaves only to return wiser and more worldly.

The trope crystallized for CBICC Connect, which announced the beginning of a mentorship program designed to bridge professionals from all backgrounds and ages. Connect is seeking mentors and mentees for the program, which provides networking and educational opportunities for both parties.

Connect is the young professionals branch of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County. Interested mentors and mentees can learn more about the program at

Downtown dandy

Whether one is in the Petula Clark generation or the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cohort, Bellefonte and Philipsburg residents have one more reason to celebrate “downtown.”

The Pennsylvania Downtown Center recently recognized Bellefonte and Philipsburg Revitalization Corp., along with 33 others, as nationally accredited programs by the National Main Street Center. The pair earned the honor by meeting Main Street principles, which include meeting standards for planning methods, community involvement and training.

Both programs have made revitalization efforts in their community.

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy